Tag Archives: old jewelry

Outlandish Jewelry Terminology

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-gold-lighter-cigarette-case

Starting with “O”

Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu.  These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things.  Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc. 

Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today.  The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.”  Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-tooth-necklace

Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces.  By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter.  Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you. 

Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings.  It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place.  In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-blue-opaline-glass-earrings

Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue.  A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.”   A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830).  It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).   

Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific.  To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Chloe-Sevigny-Metropolitan-Opera-length-necklace

Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes.  This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.    

Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-French-gold-bracelet

Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt.  Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing.  Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree.  Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them).  The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”

Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry.  It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously).  It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes.  Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.     

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Ouroboros-rock-wall

Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color.  These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.  

Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar.  Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through.  This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-black-finish-Asian

-Joe Leone 

Jewelry Terms: Endearing

Starting with “E”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Edna-May-jewels-necklace

Edna May – is a necklace type that has two stones hanging from it; the second one attached below the first and ensconced in a cluster of smaller stones.  Worn mostly during the turn of the 20th century, it derives its nomenclature from an American actress of the same name, who often sported one.  While she starred in the film “David Copperfield,” she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing copper.

Egyptian Blue – who knew that those fancy pharaoh, ancient Egyptians used synthetics?  Egyptian Blue refers to a man-made pigment that was ubiquitously used in art and architecture, intended to mimic tantalizing turquoise and luscious lapis lazuli stones.  It’s a composition made of quartz, copper, some organic plant material and possibly mummies.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-jewelry-Egyptian-blue

Electric Jewelry – is kind of hilarious.  It’s a style that was all the rage during the latter part of the 1800’s, where jewelry pieces and ornaments designed for the hair would move tither and thither.  This mystical phenomenon (referred to as “en tremblant”) was achieved with the aid of a tiny battery hidden in the piece.  This whimsical tradition still lives on today, in little dancing snowmen pins your gramma gets you around the holidays from CVS, for two dollars.

En Esclavage – is a somewhat gaudy style used in necklaces and bracelets, where several #swag chains hold together a bunch of plaques.  The plaques can feature all manner of things, such as images of loved ones, flowers, jewels and even other plaques – in a sort of plaque-ception.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-jewelry-sexy-lady-En-Esclavage

En Pampille – that’s right; get ready to be pampered in a waterfall of gemstones.  Here is another trend of the roaring 1800’s, where the jewelry (pendants, brooches, earrings, cell phone cases) featured sparklers of decreasing size, culminating in little pointy, stabby shapes.

via Pinterest.com
via Pinterest.com

Enseigne – is a kind of badge that was worn on hats during the illustrious 1500’s.  These enseignes could feature a portrait-like image of the wearer, a family crest, a favorite figure from mythology or this popular story book called “The Bible.”  Precious metals, lavish enameling, pricey gemstones and the like were the norm on these widespread badges, which many people donned – except, of course, those who exclaimed “We don’t need no stinking badges!”

Entourage – …please, no references to the show/“film”… this is a ring style where a prominent center stone is encircled by a group of more diminutive stones (routinely diamonds).  This method of setting is known as “cluster setting” – as in, “I’m in the center of a cluster of fools, namely Johnny Drama and Turtle.”  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Entourage-ring

Equipage – a preterite French phrase that connotes all of the essential every day articles that people would carry around with them.  This falls into the jewelry category, because all these components would be contained in a little Étui.  And that is:

Étui – a small, decorative container that French courtesans and maids alike would carry around with them.  Basically, you put your stuff in there.  They were usually gold or silver, and had intricate design patterns etched onto them.  The not so fair sex would sometimes use étuis too, but larger in size, so they didn’t feel so emasculated for carrying around a little fancy canister.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-jewelry-étui-case

Escalier – is a jewelry style featuring huge triangular links, used in bracelets.  A miniature version of this would be replicated for rings in a bezel mounting.  Escalier comes from the time period known as “retro,” which followed Art Deco (so the mid-1930-40’s).  Today we think of anything from the past as retro, so you’d probably instinctively call any Escalier themed jewelry ‘retro,’ without even knowing how accurate that was:  *mind blown*

-Joe Leone

2015 Jewelry Trends

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-gold-rings-invisible-setting

While Oscar Wilde may have offered the phrase:  “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” we love it nonetheless.

Here is an exhaustive list of all the jewelry trends you are guaranteed to see this coming Spring, as compiled from a variety of perennially pertinent fashion sources, such as Harpers, Vogue, W and Nylon.
Continue reading 2015 Jewelry Trends